Located on the island of Borneo is the small sovereign state of Brunei. Separated into two sections by Malaysia, this tiny nation has a population of just over 400,000. While I was in Asia, I decided to stop by the capital Bandar Seri Begawan for a few days to wander and see what it’s all about. It’s a pretty small capital taking me only a day to do most of the activities! So without further delay, here’s a photo tour of the country of Brunei!
Being a Muslim nation, they are completely dry. If you’re a non-Muslim foreigner, however, you are allowed to bring 2 liters of choice in. When you go through customs you have to fill out two of these forms. One is filled with their office and the other is to be kept with the bottles brought in at all times. As I had a bottle in my suitcase that I was bringing to Taiwan as a gift, I got to fill this bad boy out.
All currency in Brunei features a portrait of the Sultan and some festive background.
The Royal Regalia Museum is a place to see a sampling of the gifts presented to the Sultan by visiting nations. Leave your shoes on the outside, then go in to sign their guest register. No photos are allowed after the lobby and you’ll be given a locker key upon sign up, so put all your things away and enjoy the sights. You’ll be taken first through a brief history of the royal family, then guided through the many presents.
Over a small canal is the Brunei Market, a little land of stalls where you can find things like dried fish and produce. As you make your way over the bridge, you’ll most likely be yelled at by water taxi drivers looking for passengers. Make sure you haggle the price if you decide to go on a tour, as they usually start pretty high.
This little guy must love the market, I later saw him running away with a pretty nice fish in his mouth.
Wandering the area you can see this beautiful park, and the mosque, and the shopping center.
While visiting the shopping center, a Malaysian family asked if I would come along on their boat ride. It worked well for me as it was cheaper and they were able to translate the driver's explanations for me.
Kampong Ayer is the water village in Brunei. It holds a whopping 39,000 people, making it the world’s largest and earning the nickname of “Venice of the East.”
If it wasn’t enough that the village contained schools, mosques, clinics, and housing, it also has a fire station! The trucks can be loaded up and taken to the fire.
After my two days in Brunei, it was back to Kuala Lumpur for me, but visiting this unique little country was a great experience.